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IOC President Bach speaks with Olympics 300 days away

27 Sep 2020 15:45


The postponed Judo Tournament at the Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to open in just 300 days. The categories U48kg for women and U60kg for men kick-off in the Budokan. IOC President Thomas Bach met with Marius Vizer last week in Lausanne.

Bach: “We don't really know what environment we will be in next year," Bach said this week following an IOC executive board meeting. “It’s just too early to give a concrete answer to what will be the final scenario and the final approach.”

All we know is that the IOC and Tokyo organisers say the games will happen, and they are talking that up. According to reports in Japan, much of the optimism is aimed at getting reluctant sponsors on board.

The Judo tournament will be scheduled for 8 days including the team event.  The Games will involve 11,000 athletes and 4,400 Paralympians in a later stage. Will a vaccine be needed for the Olympics to open on July 23, 2021? Bach said progress on rapid testing and vaccines made him “cautiously optimistic."

If fans from abroad are welcome is tough to answer. Bach did not offer an answer but acknowledged there was a deadline pending for non-Japanese fans who have tickets, and for organisers who have sold tickets and rely on the income for their budget. “At some stage before the games we will have to take these relevant decisions,” Bach said. “Right now I’m sorry I’m not in a position to give you very concrete answers. Again, we don’t know how the world looks like tomorrow, so how can you expect from us to know how the world looks in 300, how many days?"

IOC doesn’t yet allow any kind of protest or statement of athletes during the Games. Where is the IOC now with possible changes to so-called Rule 50. It says: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Some protests in the NBA in support of Black Lives Matter would not seem to be allowed at the Olympics. The main sticking point is protests on the medal podium.

Bach: the IOC's Athletes' Commission is still talking to athletes about how the rule might be amended to give competitors more freedom. Results are expected by the end of the year.

“We have said from the beginning that neither the IOC executive board nor the IOC president will interfere in this consultation," Bach said.

The main question though is: could an athlete at the Olympics who contracted COVID-19 be quarantined and miss out on the chance at Olympic gold? Bach said there had to be fairness for the athletes, but he still said they could face quarantine. “If you need a quarantine to ensure a safe environment for all the participants of the games, then you need to go to quarantine," Bach said. "Again, it's a responsibility toward everybody and nobody can just look at him or herself and say: ‘I do not want this’, or ‘I don't think this is fair.’

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Related Judo Photos

  • Marius Vizer (AUT) - Photos with JudoInside news (2016, NED) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Chizuru Arai (JPN) - World Team Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio, International Judo Federation
  • Mario Tsutsui (BRA) - World Team Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio, International Judo Federation

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